July 12, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday he wants to wake up consciences on climate change during his 10-day pilgrimage in Australia. During this trip, according to a statement given to reporters on the Papal plane, the Pope’s trip would also be to work for “healing and reconciliation with the victims” of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy there “just as I did in the United States” earlier this year.
Less than an hour after the pope’s flight took off from Rome, Benedict walked back to the section where journalists sat. He called on five journalists to ask questions that had been submitted to the Vatican earlier in the week, including one about climate change following discussions on the environment during this month’s G-8 summit in Japan.
There is a need to “wake up consciences,” the Pope responded. “We have to give impulse to rediscovering our responsibility and to finding an ethical way to change our way of life.” Benedict said that politicians and experts must be “capable of responding to the great ecological challenge and to be up to the task of this challenge.” “We have our responsibilities toward Creation,” the Pope said, stressing, however, that he had no intention of weighing in on technical or political questions swirling around climate change.
Benedict said he would address the problem of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.
He reiterated his view that sexual abuse is “incompatible with the behavior” required of priests. At the start of his U.S. pilgrimage, Benedict had said he was “deeply ashamed” of the abuse scandal and pledged to work to make sure pedophiles do not become priests.
Benedict acknowledged that the Church in the West was “in crisis” but insisted it was not in decline. “I am an optimist” about its future, he said.
June 14, 2008
Police in southern Italy report that a family kept a woman locked in a room in their house for 18 years because they were angry she was pregnant out of wedlock.
The woman, now 47, was freed by police after receiving an anonymous tip on Friday in Santa Maria Capua Vetere and was taken to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation and care. The brother and sister of the woman were both arrested, while the 80-year old mother on house arrest.
Italian TV showed the room with a bed, chair, filthy toilet and sink.
Police said the woman’s child was living with relatives and didn’t know about his mother and is now 17-years old.
May 30, 2008
The Vatican announced Thursday (via a general decree) that it will excommunicate anyone who attempts to ordain a woman as a priest and the woman herself, effective immediately. The decree was signed by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith.
Regina Nicolosi, a program coordinator for Roman Catholic Womenpriests, who was ordained two years ago, did not find it compelling, threatening, or persuasive. “We have come not to take that too seriously,” said Nicolosi, a priest who is a married mother and grandmother living in Red Wing, Minnesota. Her group is composed of 40 to 50 women priests, none of whom are recognized by the church hierarchy. “It’s one of the very last patriarchal hierarchies in the western world, and I don’t know when they will be ready to let go of that.”
Even if she is excommunicated, she will continue her work as a volunteer in a nursing home who celebrates mass in small groups , she said. She is predicting that the church’s resistance will backfire. “This is bringing more and more women into our group, and I think we’re getting more support from Catholics who are saying this is getting ridiculous,” she said.